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Criminal Justice & Legal System

EMU Trustee Baird resigns, MDHHS official Peeler suspended, after Flint water crisis charges

On April 25, 2014, Flint officials toasted each other as they flipped the switch to the Flint River.

Rich Baird, a former top advisor to Republican Governor Rick Snyder, has resigned his post as a regent of Eastern Michigan University, after being charged with four felonies by state prosecutors for his role in the Flint water crisis.

Baird is accused of perjury in an interview during the investigation into the crisis, extortion, for allegedly threatening investigators looking into the cause of a Legionnaires' disease outbreak during the crisis, obstruction of justice for allegedly attempting to influence and/or interfere with ongoing legal proceedings arising from the Flint water crisis; and misconduct in office, for improperly using state personnel and resources.

The extortion charges carries a maximum penalty of 20 years, the perjury charge, a maximum penalty of 15 years, and the obstruction of justice and misconduct in office charges carry maximum penalties of 5 years each.

In his resignation letter, Baird calls the charges, "specious and totally without merit."

Meanwhile, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has suspended Nancy Peeler, with pay.

Peeler was Manager of the Early Childhood Health Section at MDHHS during the Flint water crisis. 

She faces two, five year felony charges of misconduct in office for concealing and misrepresenting the results of an epidemiological analysis concerning elevated blood lead levels of children in the city of Flint.

She also faces a misdemeanor charge of willful neglect of duty for failing to act on the analysis.

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